All-rounder puts family first

GEORGE HEAGNEY
Last updated 12:00 24/12/2012

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Jacob Oram has left the door slightly ajar for a return to international cricket, despite terminating his New Zealand contract.

The Black Cap all-rounder essentially called time on his international career on Saturday by asking to be released from his playing contract due to age and family commitments.

He hasn't totally retired and still plans to play in a few Twenty20 leagues around the world and for Central Districts in the HRV Cup.

But he may not have played his last game for the Black Caps.

"I know it probably gives that perception," he said.

"I am still available for New Zealand if my form and fitness warrant it, and if Mike Hesson calls, I'm available and want to play.

"I'm not going to turn down an opportunity for my country.

"That's the difference between what I've done, terminating my contract, and outright retiring. I still kind of want to play but still can't commit to what a New Zealand cricket contract requires fulltime."

At 34, he is in the twilight of his career and with a three-year-old son and another child only a few weeks away, he had to make a hard decision, which took him about 18 months.

"It just got to the point where I kind of questioned what I was doing," Oram said.

"I thought to myself it's time to put myself and my growing family as priority No 1, which meant cricket had to fall down that list and subsequently I couldn't commit to a fulltime New Zealand cricket contract."

Three or four of the tournaments are likely to be the maximum he will play in, with commitments to CD, the Sri Lanka Premier league, and he was picked up by the Chittagong Kings in the Bangladesh Premier League, which starts next month.

He was also hoping he would be picked for a stint in the Indian Premier League, and maybe an English county side.

"It's a big decision, a big career move," he said.

"There's potential for it to backfire and I understand that.

"It's a leap of faith and I hope it pays off, if it doesn't I'll move on."

But if Oram has played his last game in the black cap, he did have a lot of proud and happy memories from his 12-year career, and hoped for a few more before he hung up his boots.

"I think two stand out for me.

"The hundred I scored at Lords in 2008 at the home of cricket against a pretty good English side kind of at the start of their run up to the No 1 ranking. One of the top sides in the world, they were a good team.

"The other one was Australia in 2004.

"The hundred I scored at the Gabba [Brisbane] against a bowling attack with Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie, a pretty fearsome attack. To do well against them and get a test hundred, those stand out for me."

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Oram played 33 tests, 160 one-day internationals and 36 Twenty20 internationals since he debuted in 2001.

He said the furore around the sacking of captain Ross Taylor had nothing to do with his decision.

"I can categorically state, hand on heart, it had absolutely nothing to do with the whole captaincy saga," Oram said.

"It's something I've been thinking about for a long, long time and now's the right time."

He has a couple of investment opportunities and was thinking of pursuing coaching qualifications. Oram will be playing for Central Districts against Wellington in the capital on Boxing Day.

- The Manawatu Standard

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